I recently listened to a senior care leader’s video address to his company’s employees. I marveled at the message he was sending and his ability to create a genuine connection with his listeners. Particularly impressive was his ability to speak candidly, even bluntly, about the reality of the COVID-19 crisis, while at the same time expressing faith and confidence in getting through the crisis. His words, his tone, his palpable sincerity – it was hopeful and healing.
I’m reminded of insights shared by Admiral Jim Stockdale – a U.S. military officer during the Vietnam War – whose aircraft was shot down in 1965. He was held captive at a POW camp for over eight years, during which time he was repeatedly tortured by his captors. For eight long years, he was separated from family and friends, with no certainty as to if, or when, his imprisonment would end.
When Admiral Stockdale was asked how he got through this horrific experience, he responded:
“You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”
So, here we are in the middle of a crisis that is patently marked by fear and uncertainty. It seems to me that Admiral Stockdale’s mindset is exactly what we need to get through the current challenge:
Stay grounded in reality, while at the same time retain a deep belief that we will get through this.
This mindset must then be translated through the words and actions of leaders so that employees benefit from this strength of character.
Read the full article on McKnight's.